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There is a Chinese proverb that says: “pay as much attention to your interior as you pay to your image.” Translated to our site: are you going to pay as much attention to learning how to guzheng as you do to your image?
If the answer is yes, congratulations, you will be taking the necessary steps to become a 真正 的 古筝. Sorry for our language change. We wanted to leave you curious. What we did not want to leave you was without creating an article that would teach you the necessary steps to become “that” that we put in Chinese nonmenclature above.
Scroll down slightly and access the article that will not stop improving as long as playing the zheng is not a dream, but a reality!
It is an occasion, the “stop-and-go” occasion for you to take an action in motion that will mean a before and after in your guzheng. The clue will be clearly revealed in the back photo. You can imagine what she has inside of her, right? You do not need to be a veteran person to touch it or take it to one place or another
Just be a less conventional person than the rest to dress your guzheng as what it is, an instrument more than 2000 years old. Something that is not common, that is not easy to see anywhere, does not deserve to be taken outdoors, with nothing to protect it…
For this reason, we have exclusively prepared this magnificent set of the most compact, tenacious and eye-catching protective covers for guzhengs on the market so that you can enjoy it and give a unique and particular style to your ”guzhengtist look”.
Gunzhengtist… well, that’s what there is still left for (sorry if you’re one of them). To become someone like that, before you have to be for a long time touching it, as we already warned you above, and keep your protective guzheng briefcase with accessories like the ones you see in the image
Having some spare strings will not only make sense that you have a protective zheng case in your hands, it will also make sense that you have the instrument, because if you buy it and then you do not have it covered properly or without accessories that you know that allow you to have a longer life, what is the use of having it?
Scroll down on your mouse or panel of your smartphone and see what else we have prepared for you 😉
This does not end here! It seemed that everything was going to end but, how were we going to give you the guidelines so that you learn to play the zheng, with its corresponding strings in case any, the result of being a novice or novice, would break you and the perfect place to keep them, without those spikes that will raise the sound of your guzheng to the next level?
Not carrying them would be like committing a sin and being an instrument of oriental origin, adhering to those cultures and not being original from there, even less can we allow ourselves to commit impure acts. And having these picks embedded in your fingers will allow for better endurance and health of the strings over time
That is why we have prepared another section for you on our website so that your guzheng has that left and right eye that it needs. You have it just one click right down here ☟
What history surrounds the chinese instrument guzheng?
The first roots that concern the guzheng have a somewhat tangled aroma. Various historians attribute to certain facts to explain why this instrument arose if others already existed and that they fulfilled the same functions. Apparently it didn’t make sense, as one of them had few strings and the other had many strings. So why has the zheng, which is how the instrument is traditionally called, finally survived to this day?
The explanation is given by the existence of two instruments, one already out of date, the gusen, and another that shares the same characteristics but with fewer strings, the guqin. One of the accounts that surrounds the instrument states that one of the general dictators of the Qin Dynasty, General Meng Tian, made an instrument with the minimum benefits that the Se had, which is the abbreviated name that this instrument had, such as “Qin” for guqin and “Zheng” for guzheng
He did not want to make a similar instrument, as the worm had between 25-50 strings. He wanted to cut this group of strings in half and seal them between 14-25 strings, the range of strings that roughly every single guzheng we find on the market moves through. I wanted to produce a model in which people could tell at first glance that it was a different model and that it had nothing to do with it and, therefore, that it would be easier for people to use. Meng’s joy did not last long:
He was condemned by the high officials of the time for being considered a traitor and not representing the example of what he was, one of the main flags of the Chinese sovereign state of yesteryear. This fact made his idea of an instrument, which came to life by playing it several times, vanished at a stroke and everything was forgotten, but not for long, because shortly after the end of the Qin dynasty, back in 206 BC, a new stage began: the Han dynasty
During this stage, one of the first preserved dictionaries of Chinese culture was formalized: the Shuowen Jiezi . In this book many stories from the Han stage are collected and one of them coincides with the peculiar shape that guqins or guzhengs have, where in detail it puts through letters what body it was made of, what number of strings it had, so that occasion was touched or who could touch it . Sticking to the small print, it says that this instrument was made up of bamboo cane , one of the most used materials in ancient times to develop instruments.
Their strings were made of organic guts from animals and their size was either very small or very large, nothing like the current Chinese zithers, all of moderate sizes. In the following verses, it is detailed that only the large ones were carried by the highest in society, that is, those who had more privileges. These people could do things that the rest of the inhabitants of the Han dynasty could not, so one of the main problems arose from then on: the inequalities to strum the main instrument of the time in one part of the population and another.
It was from more recent dynasties and after Christ, such as that of Jin or the Sixteen Kingdoms, where the body of the instrument began to be changed with elements more similar to those found in today’s guzhengs, such as purely obtained woods. of the nature. Several historians have collected information from anthropologists stating that some areas that are preserved today from the Chinese Dynasties have found remains of silhouettes of what apparently was one of the constants in society: that it was the dispute between two similar instruments fit and only one could occupy “the position of king”
So we had the mess of not knowing the exact provenance of the Guse. Then the creation of a failed model similar to Se. Years later, different people adopted Meng’s ideas, but the small and the great could be managed by certain people or others and, finally, the struggle of both ideas. How did this all end? In which one of the two grabbed a well-preserved Se from ancient times, the instrument that was considered the progenitor of the rest of the instruments that both had in their hands.
Both had a fierce dispute and according to several historians, it ended in a draw due to the fact that this instrument was split in half . When splitting Se, one of the leaders kept half of the instrument, which comprised 13 strings, and the other with the other half, which comprised 12 strings . Since then, nothing is known about what happened to those people and how it all ended. What was known and if you can verify with real events and in these times, is that on the one hand we have the qin, with few strings, and the zheng, with many strings.
As the guqin and guzheng both descended from the Se, the part of the instrument with 13 strings was understood centuries later as the Se major, giving rise to what we know today as the guzheng, and the part of the instrument with 12 strings is named him as the minor Se, giving rise to what we know today as guqin. Since the Se began to echo in the world and until the struggle produced by the main leader in the Qing dynasty, the designs were totally smoothed.
From the end of this dynasty, they began to make typical designs of contemporary Chinese culture, such as the buds found in Chinese fauna, Chinese letters with cultural proverbs or even styles of painting such as cloisonne. Many historians of more current stages have denied many of the claims mentioned above. This explains the enormous controversy that exists about the origin of the guzheng and that none of the cited stories can be verified one hundred percent. You already know a little more about some of the legends that surround your favorite instrument. How curious are some of them, right?
What are the parts of the chinese zither guzheng?
The guzheng bridge
Its shape is slightly arched and can be made of ebony, rosewood, paulownia and mahogany. On the inside, which we cannot see with the naked eye, it has indentations that allow giving a wavy and spacious sound to the melody of the guzheng. Its shape remains the same at all times and on both sides it has concavities to grip the citara from one of the two ends.
Otherwise it happens in the external part, where we have distinguished two ends upholstered by more minimalist designs, such as printed Chinese letters, or more extroverted with floral designs or any attribution to Chinese culture . The appearance is not the same at both ends. At the extreme left we find the so-called “phoenix tail” that has such a distinctive shape in a kind of silhouette that forms a wide “S”
On the other hand, on the far right we have a kind of airtight box to the naked eye which allows access to the pegbox to model the tone of the guzheng. Depending on the model, the size of the bridge can range from a little over a meter and a half to around meter seventy. The center of the bridge, where the strings hang, always presents smooth and uniform aspects. At the ends of the bridge, right where the strings meet, it has a tough steel material that makes it difficult for any of the strings to break easily.
The Guzheng Soundboard
It is located under the bridge and the shape it takes is prepared to give the guzheng the characteristic sound. It is made up of chips that give the instrument tenacity and has even concave areas to grip it with some ease. Below it we have no access to anything and its shape is completely horizontal, nothing to do with the outermost part visible at first glance.
Depending on whether we have guzheng models with fewer or greater numbers of strings, the resonance box will vary in size. The greater number of strings we have, the greater the space required in the resonance box of the guzheng. Hundreds of years ago, this resonance box was presented as a simple base to rest the Chinese zither
With the passing of the years and the fierce evolution of the music, a resonance timpani was devised in the guzheng knowing that it gave a plus. As a curious fact, it is stated that in many of the hollowed-out areas and at the expense of nobody seeing them, they were pasted on the walls of the same and in an almost imperceptible size to the naked eye, confessions of bad vibes on the part of the guzheng artists, experiences bad or obscene acts that they had committed
The ropes of the guzheng
The ropes present in the oldest guzheng models started from 13 strings to 18. For the more modern guzheng models the total number of strings is between 21 and 25, being the 21 strings one of the best known among users and sold in the market. Each of them is held at both ends by steel wires that make it very tenacious, resistant and safe so that at no time the user feels that he is going to leave the site.
All of them have a thickness of 4-5mm, being only 3mm thick for the strings of the most premium ranges and capable of producing much more acute, prolonged and characteristic sounds . Each of these strings can be played with or without picks and with one or both hands . These picks were made with materials such as bamboo, bone and animal teeth, ivory, tortoiseshell or tortoise shell
Since the first glimpses of guzheng, the strings that have been used have varied. These are the most outstanding old ropes that were used for different reasons:
The ancient ropes of the guzheng extracted from animal guts
They began to be used thousands of years ago and the main characteristic that led to their use was the enormous elasticity that it had, at the same time that it was not difficult for it to break, which clung securely to the bamboo structures of the first guzheng and when touched it produced an even sound. At that time, the bridge pins were not presented in an oblique direction to change it to a lower or higher tone and its removal was super easy.
The ancient ropes of the silk guzheng
Its use did not come until the emergence of the Chinese dynasties, a time when other types of elements began to be used throughout the body of the Chinese citara, not only in its strings. The main reason that led many to seal their guzheng with silk ropes was the easy accessibility it had, a more neat handling process and a somewhat more serious sound than with ropes of organic animal origin. These yes that could vary in the musical tone. This type of rope was maintained for several centuries until the middle of the 20th century.
From that moment on, purely chemical brass and nylon steels began to be used, two elements that are still used today in the ropes of other international instruments, not only in the Chinese 21-string cords:
The modern brass steel guzheng ropes
They are the oldest if we compare them with the nylon ones. Its extraction had little production cost and was found and found in mass. This led to the brass being for years the main element of the strings, present until today, together with the fact that the sound it produced and produces was and is capable of not distorting either the highest treble or the lowest bass . Brass ropes are one of the accessories that most come in the 3,4,5 or 6-for-1 packs of many guzhengs order packs.
Modern nylon steel guzheng ropes
A synthetic material characterized by its elasticity, its tenacity not to break and its durability intact for years . This makes it the type of cord most present in any model of Chinese citara that we refer to and it is one of the best-selling and most expensive sets of ropes for guzhengs on the market . They have only been in existence for less than a century, making them one of the most modern elements of the instrument along with their disruptive designs.
The guzheng’s tripod or desk
It is not an element that is part of the guzheng as such, but in many of the packs it is added almost by obligation. Its structure requires that, at a minimum, users can have a two-legged table or tabletop available from the beginning where the 21-string Chinese citara can be supported efficiently, safely and at a good height to touch . The height of its legs usually ranges between one meter and 20 centimeters to a meter and a half, approximately
These measurements may be subject to variations because some guzheng supports can be presented in a versatile way, being able to adjust the height of the foundation to free will so that it is at the ideal altitude while seated and it is not uncomfortable to strum the strings located higher or lower. Other guzhengs foundations are even portable, being able to move them from one place to another and exempting us from having to grasp it with our hands
The shape they have alludes to that of a triangle, at both ends there is a double leg with two legs each, having 4 in total at each end and forming a total of 8 small supports. This guzheng base can come in a natural or upholstered wood that matches in tone with the citara. In addition, its 8 supports can be folded and in the center of the board so that we can insert it in the trunk or carry it by hand without any problem
What does guzheng sound like depending on the place, the stage of the story, or the way it is played?
An easy question to ask but at the same time diverse to answer. From the earliest days to today, different ways of plucking the guzheng have been used. Some have been forgotten, others have remained and others have not only remained, but have evolved
Two of the most used techniques to play the 21-string Chinese zither have not taken into account any type of criterio, but in certain locations it is more common to see one style and other locations another type of style.
This is how guzheng sounds according to the way it is struck
They cover 3 very different methods from each other:
The guzheng style on slides or glissando
This form of execution is one of the most used in guzheng today. It consists of starting from a note that is not the one that is written in advance on the musical staff. The person begins by playing a note, such as C, and then plays E, F and F. The first note is plucked slowly and the next three are plucked in a more fleeting way. The tempos can also start from above, that is, start at A and then go to notes of E, D and C
Guzheng’s style in vibrato
It is one of the most present together with the headdress in series in the ascending or descending direction of the guzheng. This technique consists of varying the pitch of the melody, that is, that a certain note has a lower or higher tempo . Like the singers who sing their melodies and make variations in the voice during the development of the song, well the same with this. Depending on how you strum, you can determine how much we want the extension of the vibrato to be and the speed of said extension, that is, if it will be produced in a more locked or more dynamic way.
Guzheng’s style in tremolo
Together with the slides, this method is one of the most used in Chinese zheng and one of the most particular sounds that a purely oriental technique is found within a few seconds. To clarify how the sound is using this technique, imagine that you are in China and there is a tremor or you are bouncing a basketball, producing the same movement at all times. Something similar happens with tremolo: what you do is grab two nearby notes, such as C and D, and pluck them at the same speed and synchronized for several seconds.
This is how guzheng sounds depending on where it is played in China
According to the Chinese region where the guzheng is played, we can see some styles or others, the previously named, in their musical melodies
This is how guzheng is heard in the northern regions of China
Regions such as Shandong, such as Ningxia, Hebei or Shanxi encompass flagship songs such as “High Mountain and Flowing Water” (高山流水), “Autumn Moon Over Han Palace” (汉宫 秋月), “Climbing the Stairs” (上楼 去) and ”Pastimes in a lagoon” (在 泻湖 的 爱好) . These melodies used the different methods explained in advance
The songs of High Mountain and Water that flows, and going up the stairs, have a sound characterized by the slide, both ascending and descending, extended and somewhat slow vibratos and tremolos executed with the thumb . On the other hand, the other tracks only use note slides starting from the first note, C, to the last note, B, or vice versa, starting from the last note to the first.
This is how guzheng is heard in the southern regions of China
Regions like Guangxi, like Funjian, like Zhejiang or Yunnan include songs like “Gramilla plays with water” (草儿 戏水), “Lotus emerging from Water” (莲花 出水) or the “General’s Command” (将军 指挥). They use styles of slides more followed and in ascending tones, that is to say, that there is not a drastic strum from a tone C to B, but a more subtle and closer one between G and A, located higher in the pentatonic scale
In the melody of Gramilla plays with Water , a rougher or less rough method of plucking the strings is used and with the same tempo, giving rise to a lower or sharper sound and always maintaining the same duration of the musical note. On the other hand, in the melody of the General’s Command the vibrato is not very long and at a fast pace, since it imitates the sound of the Pipa, a guitar of Chinese origin.
This is how the guzheng sounds according to the stage of the story in which it is struck
In more classic times and of yesteryear, a type of tearing is used in the guzheng, while in more current times another type of typing is used.
This is how guzheng sounded before the 20th century
The right hand was used to the right of the guzheng bridges, and to the left of the bridges the left hand . The one and the other were always separated and the techniques that we have already spoken to you in depth were used:
On the right side the note was played and on the left either the same string that was strummed was stretched to produce a certain vibrato or glissando of more distant or closer notes. The speed of the vibrato and whether it was more durable or less durable, and closer or further glissandos, were previously stipulated.
This is how guzheng sounded from the mid-20th century
The same did not happen from this time. The artist had more possibilities when it came to giving variety to his melody. The durability of the vibratos, depending on whether they were stronger or less strong, and sliding, skipping or fewer notes, were no longer previously stipulated. As the years went by until now, there is a mixture of both:
One part of the stipulated melody and the other remaining part to improvise by the zheng artist. From this time on, it was not necessary for both hands to be on either side of the bridges . All kinds of strumming could be produced with the help of both hands on one side or the other of the bridge. It was here that the tremola style of zheng was first developed
Why buy the guzhengs instruments for sale in our online store?
Few places but enough to buy your guzheng with total security and guarantee from our online site: By collaborating with online giants such as Amazon, eBay, Aliexpress or Thomann , and we put “or” because our range of possibilities will not stop growing. With this, you ensure an efficient , safe and fast purchase of the 21-string Chinese instrument from guzhenginstrument.shop
What do we want to tell you with this? That with the magic that this network has of having everything on a tray with just a few clicks, from our online site you will have immediate access to guzhengs for beginners with the minimum benefits, of medium-low and low ranges and at cheap and affordable prices for a wide spectrum of clients, and instant access to guzhengs professions with the maximum benefits, for the most veteran, of medium-high, high and premium ranges at expensive and onerous prices. Whatever type of user you are, you have that specific guzheng that will best suit your current requirements
With partners behind us such as Amazon, eBay and Aliexpress , the quintessential Chinese store, you are assured of details like these: immediate availability with indefinite stock 24 hours a day, so you can get the guzheng at lunchtime or at 3:00 a.m. night, whenever you want, personalized shipping methods, with the possibility of choosing between a standard or express shipping method, incurring a delayed or shorter shipping delay, the safest means of payment worldwide, access to promotions and Guzhengs exclusive discounts at certain times of the year, the most personalized and professional customer service globally best valued parcel services, such as DHL and Ups, and a return policy of 14 days up to 60 days, only on some models
Many guzhengs manufacturers, aware that the minimum prices do not have an acceptable aroma from many users, offer users this policy of purchase risk 0, in case of any reason whatsoever, be it that the instrument came defective, in bad condition, it was damaged during its journey or, even, if it was not what you expected, for any reason, it is just to notify the store, the seller or both and just wait for them to pick it up, without you “apparently” not having to pay or shipping costs. We say “apparently” because this can change depending on the seller (having to assume expenses), as well as whether you have more or less days of flexibility of purchase in that guzheng that you want to buy
The forms of payment allowed can be either by immediate payment with a debit or credit card from Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Paypal, GPay and brand-new bank cards such as Revolut LTD, or they can be through bank transfer, although this means of payment tends to be less common and takes longer in direct comparison with the other means
If you dig deeper into DHL or Ups, or even into the description itself of the characteristics of that particular 21 rope Chinese citera, you will realize that many of them are going to come from warehouses in China . This means that when entering SEPA territory, American territory, such as the United States or lands such as Canada, many of the guzhengs models, especially the most expensive and of the most premium ranges, will have to incur, on your part, an extra expense. too much, in addition to what has already been disbursed, which in many cases is no longer little
For example, if you pay an amount “x” of money, when that product from abroad enters Europe or American soil, it suffers the well-known “customs tax” or “customs tax” . Depending on the country where you come from, you may have to pay more or less amount of money. For the lower-end guzheng prototypes, this tax is hardly or remotely incurred, not having to spend anything or spending only a few euros or dollars more. If it has not been clear to you or you need to know how much you are going to pay in extra money, contact us and we will inform you in detail
Another means of payment not mentioned is the payment to financing or installments of your guzheng. That means that, if the seller allows it, you will have access to a credit with a certain duration of months, which can range from 6 months to 24 months, only in some particular cases, to remunerate your guzheng monthly, as if you were paying A rental. This detail is perfect for those users who have a very tight current budget
Flexibility and transparency, two of our great principles to ensure full customer satisfaction and trust. Never before have you been so close to acquiring the 21-string Chinese citara that you appreciate and represent so much in the world… to be part of that select club of people who have a guzheng… to create your own path to be a true guzheng artist… to beautify your ears or those of others in a unique way… to buy it on a tray whatever budget you have and wherever you are!
What are the current prices for new guzhengs?
It is one of the great dilemmas that hovers over the head of each one of us before obtaining any guzheng model: determining, a priori, what the approximate cost of that guzheng is going to be. It is easy if you have in mind a series of guidelines which we will tell you below and only if the amounts of money are grouped by ranges. We are going to see it in detail so that you can clarify it better
If you inquire about any of the online stores we work with and you see that this guzheng has disruptive finishes, with sketches on both ends of the board or on one of them and offers a guarantee of several years, you know that many of those guzhengs they will have costs between $700-$1000. Another way to find out, less effective, is if you have essential guzheng accessories added to the pack, although there are cheaper models that already have it added and you sell it at cheap prices
Typically, beginner guzhengs have cheaper amounts, with a smaller instrument size and simpler finishes. While the professional guzhengs, they have more onerous amounts, with a larger size of instruments and more sophisticated finishes. This may differ, as each manufacturer is different and you can find a professional and high-performance accessory at affordable prices. That is why we tell you that calculating the exact amount of money to spend without first visiting the product page itself would be like lying to yourself
If, on the other hand, we have mini guzhengs or traveling, it will come at lower costs and more affordable to assume, in dollar ranges between $250-$550, because most don’t have a guarantee or it is only 1 year, its finishes are not so stylish and its durability over the years is less, in direct comparison with the more expensive models, and they don’t have a set of accessories as complete as the most premium ranges
Why buy second-hand or used guzhengs instruments for sale in our online store?
In the 3 online sites in which we collaborate you can buy that second-hand guzheng that you are looking for . The list of used guzheng is very extensive, like the new ones, with second-hand guzheng at cheap, moderate prices, and low-middle and low-range ranges and second-hand Chinese 21-string instruments at higher, substantial costs, which include medium-high, high and premium level ranges
On European soil you have options such as Wallapop or Thousand Ads, but you, who surely visit us from outside the “eurozone”, it is not possible that you can get it here, unless you are on an express trip through Europe. When buying used guzhengs you will know in advance things like:
That it has been many times and you have the assurance that it is in perfect condition , that you can have 21 seemingly inaccessible Chinese citations for the price at which they are available, but that thanks to its “used” label you will get lower values and easier for you to assume, super fast shipping methods of less than 48 hours and the possibility of negotiating the value of the guzheng, or in other words, you are sure that this guzheng does not have a fixed price, which it does with models sold on Amazon or eBay
The shipping methods to acquire that preferred used guzheng model are the same as those used in the models, with the same parcel companies and others not mentioned. Not everything was going to be gold: you win in what we told you above, but when you get the guzheng second-hand you lose things like the means of payment made flexible to “x” months or the return policies. Buying a used model in advance or totally new will depend on your current budget or that the model you want is not available as new, if it is as second hand
What are the current prices for second-hand guzhengs?
It’s even easier to quantify the cost you’re going to shell out for that second-hand guzheng. The first thing you have to know is that, from the outset, it will be more manageable on your part if you are one of those users with a very limited current budget. These types of models do not have consumer policies such as returns or installment payments, prices are lowered, in addition to their used condition, which makes it less valuable or less exclusive
Therefore, the prices of used guzheng may differ depending on whether the seller adds an accessory, which in some cases we may have to pay for it separately and is not included in the final price of the product, if it is an old second-hand guzheng, preserved for several decades, still having very simple designs and only used remotely for concerts, we are in front of high-end used guzhengs that you have available at values that are between $300-$500
Otherwise it is if it is a travel guzheng or guzheng of a “mini” nature, with the most measured size, without any accessories or just a couple of them being included, recently manufactured and with a very high stock. If so, you are in front of low-end used guzheng available at amounts around $100-$250
One of the advantages that makes it easier to determine the cost of a used guzheng is that whatever its range, it will be more reduced but, on the contrary, we have less stock in second-hand guzheng than in totally new, renewed and brand-new , and their availability to buy is not as immediate as new prototypes. You have to be mischievous and seize the moment, like that example we gave you if you are in another country for tourist reasons